We successfully celebrated our first Burns Night last Saturday with a lovely rendition of the tradition in the Mess. A night full of poetry, haggis (veggie version for me), bag pipes and whiskey - it was awesome! In honour of the poet, on this his birthday, here is one of the poems read aloud that eve.
To A Mouse.
Wee sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an chase thee,
Wi murdering pattle!
I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion.
An fellow mortal!
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve:
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
’S a sma request;
I’ll get a blessin wi the lave,
An never miss’t!
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An naething, now, to big a new ane,
O foggage green!
An bleak December’s win’s ensuin.
Baith snell an keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an waste,
An weary winter comin fast.
An cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro thy cell.
That wee bit heap o leaves an stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble.
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An cranreuch cauld!
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o mice an men
Gang aft agley,
An lea’e us nought but grief an pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still thou art blest, compar’d wi me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An forward, tho I canna see,
I guess an fear!
Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns